Friday, June 4, 2021

HKU Law and Technology Centre launched HKU AI Lawyer: Sentencing Predictor for Drug Trafficking

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning bring disruptive changes to legal practice. AI can be used to draw insights from past judicial decisions to predict future outcomes. In the criminal justice system, one essential aspect is sentencing. Much attention has been placed on how AI informs decisions about sentencing and how to use AI to assist people to obtain and make use of sentencing information.
Professor Anne Cheung of the Faculty of Law and Professor Ben Kao of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hong Kong and their research team have developed a Stage-1 model of HKU AI Lawyer - an AI-assisted sentencing predictor for the offence of trafficking in dangerous drugs in Hong Kong. The predictor is based on an innovative combination of legal domain knowledge and machine learning techniques. Users only need to provide relevant information through responding to four simple questions, and the predictor will generate an estimated term of imprisonment. Another useful feature of the predictor is that it will at the same time show the links to court decisions which are most relevant to the given facts. The sentencing predictor is a pragmatic tool for professionals including lawyers, social workers and teachers. It also serves to inform the public of likely legal consequences of committing drug trafficking offences.

A workshop was held on May 18 (Tuesday) to introduce the background of HKU AI Lawyer, with a demonstration of how to use the sentencing predictor, to lawyers, social workers and members of the community. Mr. Chan Man Ho, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, also shared his experience.

Media representatives were cordially invited to attend the workshop, with details as follows:
Date: May 18, 2021 (Tuesday)
Time: 2:00 – 3:15pm
Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU (map)
Language: Cantonese

Professor Anne Cheung
Co-Director, Law and Technology Centre
Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, HKU

Professor Ben Kao
Co-Director, Law and Technology Centre
Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering, HKU

Mr. Michael Cheung
Research Officer
Law and Technology Centre, Faculty of Law, HKU

Mr. Chan Man Ho
Deputy Director
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

** The workshop was simultaneously aired through Zoom:
Meeting ID: 961 8639 6394

For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Grace Chan, Secretary, Law and Technology Centre, Faculty of Law, HKU (Tel: 3917-4727; Email:

Media Coverage
"Hong Kong drug offenders get clearer view of options as new computer program scans thousands of cases to determine likely sentences", SCMP, 19 May 2021.  For other media coverage, see the list on the Law and Technology Cente webpage.

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